20, 05, 2012

Going The Distance: The Truth About Long-Distance Relationships

I’ve recently watched the romantically dramatic film, Like Crazy. I thought it was going to be your typical “love is found in the end” kind of film, but I was pleased with its more realistic approach to a long-distance relationship. It showcased (without sugar-coating the good times and the bad times) a relationship’s dedication but also infidelity, and when love hits you hard but also when it fades away. This subject is close to my heart considering my experience in a long-distance relationship in the past. The duration of my relationship was no longer than 3 years. I’m not saying they never work out since there are some, and I emphasize SOME success stories. Some people just work it out well together while the majority of us just can’t keep up. When I talk about long-distance I’m not talking about the next town over. More like, in two different continents with big time zone differences. My midnight was their noon time and when daylight savings came around it made things even more complicated than they already were. Here are some pointers I’d like to share from my own experiences, observations, and mistakes. If you are or have ever been in a LDR, maybe you feel or have felt similar sentiments:

Never have expectations. My mistake when flying 13 hours to meet up with my love interest at the time was “this was it”. We are going to work this out and be together. We all probably have made this mistake, when we find something different and out of our zone. It excites us and we think this is our final destination in life because it’s so out there and not many people get this experience. It’s okay to dream a little dream but remember to keep your feet on the ground as well. I get the excitement of having a rare moment but with these types of relationships, you need to think ahead especially if you start to develop strong feelings for one another. I had those days where I felt unstoppable like the world was going my way, but I was actually dreaming more than living. My long-distance relationship took over my mind. I constantly daydreamed and checked my phone for any new messages every free second I got. It’s not easy to meet up any time. In fact, it took me months to save up money for my trip. Even though every moment spent together was amazing, experiencing an entire new world was still emotionally stressful, especially as my departure day to go back home was looming. It was really exhilarating but sad to see how he lived, stepping into his fast paced life, all the people surrounded by him, plus the rising success in his career.Although, it was very overwhelming. So what was next? In the end we just didn’t have mutual feelings and ended our chapter together once I got home. It was a very heartbreaking time and I didn’t see it coming since I had all these plans planted into my mind. Just know what you’re getting into and keep a level head.

Eventually one has to give up their life for the other. Like they say, ‘something’s gotta give’. I’ve had plenty of times where one of us stayed up til six in the morning just so we can “be together” and feel like crap at work after getting only 2-3 hours of sleep. You both might already have stable jobs, and all your family and friends are always hard to leave behind. If it’s easy to pick up and go, good for you, but the norm is most people already have their life together and the thought of starting a new one especially for love can honestly be scary. There are always the positives and negatives of ‘what if?’ that floats around in our heads. Also, if your significant other is from a country where you know limited to nothing about the culture or language, it’s going to be ten times harder getting used to the lifestyle, making your own friends, learning a new language, and finding a new job. It’s not an easy process to get through. I can understand those who fight for love since I am one. You want to prove it to yourself that you can do it—be with this one person and prove the doubters wrong. In some, and maybe most cases, at least one person is fine with making the big jump into an entire new life. After all, it is fascinating, and when you’re in love you’ll do anything for that person. But just a warning, reality does hit. If the person is worth it, you will have no regrets, but it still does take a toll on you mentally. Just don’t expect smooth sailing.

Interaction is key in a relationship. You can conveniently video call all you want and it may seem to work well at first, but it just isn’t the same as physically being together to go out and share experiences outside your homes. Not being able to feel your significant other’s touch is really hard since you’re not able to express your affections for one another and feel it in that sense.

It’s easier to have slip-ups when you’re so far apart. You might actually be the loyal type, but is your partner? You really wouldn’t know and there are a lot of temptations. You are not the only amazing and attractive person out there. From time to time we see eye-catching people in passing, compelling us to do a double take–it’s just human nature. Normally we don’t act on these feelings when we are with someone in a non-LDR since we get time to spend together, instead of constantly missing one another. We are less likely to make a mistake by trying to temporarily fill this void out of loneliness. Our boyfriend/girlfriend still has us under a spell and is still number one to us. In a LDR, times do get lonely and you or your partner might wander off looking to fulfil those needs. It’s hard for me to believe anyone who says they’ve never had a slip-up while in a LDR.  It’s so easy to lie to one another when you don’t see each other often and don’t know each other’s body language well enough. You’re not there to keep eachother in line and all you have to go on is hope and trust. Sometimes you’ve worked so hard to keep it together that you don’t want to give up so easily.

Not to put down LDRs, because there are those that work out if both parties are dedicated and give one hundred percent effort. For an LDR to work, it has to be balanced just like any relationship in general. It is a lot harder, but definitely interesting. With my long-distance relationship, we’d sms/email each other pictures and short videos of things we saw and thought were funny or interesting throughout the day, to make it feel as though the distance wasn’t as big between us. It takes a little creativity and a ton of effort, but when it’s worth it, it’s worth it. But you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Image via travelettes.net.

5 responses to “Going The Distance: The Truth About Long-Distance Relationships”

  1. Msanhle says:

    You’re absolutely right. Distance makes heart grow fonder only when the separation is for a short while.

  2. […] years ago I wrote my thoughts on long distance relationships, and it might have left on a sour note… The truth was at that time I had ended a 2 year long […]

  3. Thank you so much for your comment! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  4. […] by guys just a neighbourhood away and even as far as Europe and Asia (you can read about my LDRs here and […]

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